NASA made a promise to take some astronauts back on the Moon in 2024, but now, the space organization plans another invasion; this time on the Red Planet.
The US Space Agency confirmed that it wants humans to reach Mars by 2033. Jim Bridenstine, NASA’s administrator, announced on Tuesday that the organization is planning to have another project set to change human lives in the future. But to achieve that goal, other parts of the program like the lunar landing project needs to finish in the given period.
‘We want to achieve a Mars landing in 2033,’ Bridenstine announced to lawmakers during the congressional hearing on Capitol Hill. The administrator also explained that the only way to move up the Mars landing is also to make the Moon landing as soon as possible. The former Republican congressman who is in the conference as well and appointed by President Donald Trump, added that the ‘moon is the proving ground.’
NASA sees the project as a way for humans, not just astronauts, to experience how it feels to set foot on the other planet except Earth. But first, it has to enact the plans of Trump that the timetable for putting a
As for the new date, it has come to several experts and lawmakers that it would be hard for NASA to beat the deadline, especially given the significant delays in the development of its new heavy-lift rocket known as ‘the Space Launch System’ which is being built and structured by aerospace giant, Boeing. However, the space organization is still confident that the plan is going to be successful despite doubts from the experts.
The announcement raises a question such as, ‘was it possible to put a man on Mars?’
According to research, any mission to Mars would take at least two years, taking into account the distance needed to be traveled to reach the red planet. Getting there alone would take six months compared with the three days allowed to fly to the moon.
Getting astronauts or humans, to the Martian surface and returning them safely to Earth is a tough engineering challenge. A thorough understanding of the Martian environment is critical for the safety of those who set foot, at the same time, their health. Mars according to NASA, lacks an ozone layer which shields humans from lethal doses of solar ultraviolet radiation, so an in-depth understanding of its radiation environment is needed before doing any human exploration.
Moreover, another hindrance seen to delay the plan is the fact that Mars can only take place when the Red Planet is positioned on the same side of the Sun as Earth which occurs about every 26 months, thus making the available dates into the year 2031, 2033 and so on.
A human mission to Mars has been the subject of science fiction, aerospace engineering and proposals since the 19th century. The goals comprise bids to land on Mars and eventually terraforming the planet. The preliminary work for missions that involve human explorers took place during the 1950s, and since then, multiple organizations and space agencies have crafted a scientific investigation in the field of space exploration, but none has proven to be successful.
Back in 2010, numerous American, European, and Asian agencies developed proposals for human missions to Mars, until today, they are still growing and testing the technologies. Earlier in 2017, a NASA budget bill set 2033 as the target date for the human-crewed mission to Mars, but the organization itself has another goal to accomplish first.; NASA wants to learn how to extract and use tons of ice at the Moon’s pole.
The intent is to get humans first in the lunar surface to prove that we can live and work in another world which sounds ambitious but exciting. As for NASA, water ice represents air to breathe, drink and an abundant source of fuel so before landing a mission to Mars, NASA pledges to finish its discoveries on the Moon.
Today, the Deep Space Transport (DTS), a spacecraft meant to be launched on top of NASA’s SLS vehicle in 2027. It was announced by NASA last March 2017 and currently plans to send with a crew of 4 to Mars in 2033. As per NASA, it would not, however, and but merely remain in Martian Orbit until there is a launch window for a return.
This move by NASA to prepare for the human exploration to Mars marks the end of a decades-old use of robotic spacecraft and rovers to discover the red planet. While we cannot deny the fact that robotic exploration paved the way for several historical breakthroughs and discoveries in the past, scientific researches by humans are much more essential to continue the study of possible life on Mars.
Taking humans to Mars is a dangerous and challenging mission for NASA, but the organization proves everyone that nothing is impossible when Neil Armstrong had once forked that American flag to Moon. It has long been a dream of every human to set foot on Mars, and if NASA opens this opportunity to every living aspirant, it could be the start of life on Mars.